Drawing from Code: Works from the Anne and Michael Spalter Collection, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA

Jean-Pierre Hébert, Untitled, 2001
Pen and ink
21 x 21 inches

January 29 – April 24, 2011

Drawing with Code brings together a selection of computer-generated art by the form’s earliest and most important practitioners from the 1950s to today. The Providence-based collection of Anne and Michael Spalter is one of the largest and most important of its kind in the U.S. and shines a new light onto a darkened corner of the art historical record.

In our current digital environment when just about everyone holds the processing power of a full computer in their pocket, it is difficult to remember a time when computer technology was not involved in every aspect of our lives. In the arts—visual, cinematic, musical, dance, and theater—the computer has become not only an accepted, but in many cases, an intrinsic tool for artistic expression. The artists featured in Drawing with Code emerged in the early computer-era when the technology was rudimentary by current standards and its capabilities rarely extended beyond the world of computation. Merging their interests in art and coding, these practitioners came to be known as “Algorists,” artists who employed original algorithms to create images. In addition to works on paper, Drawing with Code presents the work of two filmmakers, Lillian Schwartz and Stan VanDerBeek, who were brought into Bell Labs Research by Kenneth Knowlton to make some of the first computer art animations. These six animations were collaborations using Knowlton’s BEFLIX (Bell Flicks) programming language for bitmap computer-produced movies.

The artists in Drawing with Code represent some of the earliest innovations in computer-generated art from the U.S., Europe, and Asia, pioneering a new form of collaboration between technology and art that pushed the boundaries of both.

Featured artists: Yoshiyuki Abe, Manuel Barbadillo, Jean-Pierre Hébert, Desmond Paul Henry, Sven Höglund / Bror Wikstörm, Sture Johannessen, Hiroshi Kawano, Kenneth Knowlton, Ben F. Laposky, Manfred Mohr, Vera Molnar, Frieder Nake, George Nees, Lillian F. Schwartz, Stan VanDerBeek, Roman Verotsko, Mark Wilson, and Edward Zajec.

This exhibition is organized by guest curator George Fifield, Director, Boston Cyberarts Inc. and is part of the 2011 Boston Cyberarts Festival.

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